good news: i passed my ham radio technician test! :D that means, as soon as my name has been put in the FCC database, i'll be licensed for amateur radio. yay!
the test was pretty easy, really...i recognized almost all the questions that were on it, and i passed it with flying colours. it's really nice that i've gotten that out of the way, so i can finally start playing around with radio, and transmitting stuff.
i did have a rather weird thing happen to me on the way to the testing site. i was on the last bus that i needed to get to the test site: the 354 pace bus, running from Harvey through Midlothian. i was minding my own business, listening to my iPod and firing up the GPS on my phone.1 this guy behind me taps me on the shoulder, and asks if he can pay me fifty cents to use my phone and call his boss. i told him he could just use it...i have free nights and weekends anyway, so it wasn't going to cost me anything to let him use it. he thanked me, told me what number to dial, used my phone to tell someone that he'd be off the bus fifteen minutes later than expected, and gave me back my phone.
after he handed the phone back to me, he starts telling me that he didn't have a phone because his nephew stole it from him, and he was especially pissed because his phone was new, and he hadn't had it for very long. i listened to him rant, and agreed with him that stealing his phone was a cruddy thing for anyone to do, whether it was his nephew or someone wholly unrelated. not having a phone sucks, and phones are expensive.
but, he then proceeded to tell me how he had acquired the phone that has been stolen:
"i just got that phone! some guy really, really wanted to get rid of it, so i gave him an eighth of an ounce of crack for it!"
i can understand trading crack for a phone. really, i can. if you had crack, and some guy had a nice telephone but really would rather have crack, it's a good trade for you. a phone is a lot more productive. you can use a phone to talk to your friends. you can use a phone to talk to your boss, if you're the rare employed crackhead. you can even use a phone to talk to your crack dealer in order to buy some crack to replace the crack that you traded away for that phone.
i can also understand being angry that the phone for which he had traded his hard-acquired crack had been stolen. maybe he would have hidden his crack from his thieving nephew better than he would have hidden his phone, so he'd still be able to gain use from his valuable commodity.
but, why in the world would you tell some random person on the bus that you got the phone in exchange for crack? how is that in any way relevant to the conversation? did i give off some kind of vibe that i'd appreciate the fact that he trade crack for a phone, or that i'd somehow feel more sorry for him because he was out a eight-ball of crack as opposed to the cash price of that "new Verizon phone"? did he think i'd commiserate with him by giving him some new crack right there in the back of the pace bus? who knows.
the moral of the story? the last time i checked, having crack was not legal. fortunately for him, i am not a law enforcement officer, and there were ostensibly no cops on the bus this morning. however, getting into the habit of staying quiet about any crack use, possession, and barter you engage in will make you less likely to talk yourself into trouble in the future.
maybe he just sensed that i was the kind of person who liked to write periodic blog entries about stupid crackheads, and was so crack-addled that he was enthusiastic about being the subject of a post here. if that's the case...well, he got his wish.
1 the only time i ever really fire up the GPS is if i'm on a bus in an unfamiliar suburb. google maps is really, really helpful...it lets me see where the bus is, and how far it has to go, so i don't miss my stop. since some of the roads out in the burbs are poorly marked, the hit on the battery life is well worth not being stranded in a random corner of some suburb.